Most long-term relationships go through a time when one or both people feel stuck on unhappy with relationship. We try so hard to influence and convince the other person of what we consider to be total truth and unarguable logic. Or maybe, we are just trying to make them see another point of view or another way to feel about what is happening or not happening. This can go on for years, all the while, getting more and more unhappy in relationship.
Is this downward spiral inevitably going to end in some kind of misery or disaster. Is there anyway to reverse this trend when we have put so much energy into doing this already? Surely, if we just persist, they will eventually realize the rightness of our way, or will they? Perhaps they are thinking the same way and waiting and hoping that you will change your mind and/or way of behaving?
I can tell you that for a long time, I felt stuck being unhappy in relationship with my wife and my children. It seemed like the more I tried to help, the more they pushed back and tried to prove me wrong. The harder I worked to find and teach what I considered truth, the more they went the other way.
Since it was all going so wrong from my perspective, I finally decided that I was wasting my breath, my energy and my emotions on trying to change their way of thinking and behaviour. If it had been working, I would have gladly continued to put in the effort and energy. Since it was going the opposite way to what I believed to be better, I decided that there was no sense in continuing. Still, it is impossible to do nothing……so, what did I decide to do?
What I decided to do had two significant aspects in the beginning. First, I decided to focus on myself and let them serve themselves poorly regardless of what I was doing. At the same time, I decided to love them all unconditionally. I let them know that I loved them in words and action even when they were acting in ways that I considered dysfunctional. To this day, I continue to do this. To give you an example, when I see or hear of something going badly with one of them, the first thing I will normally say is that I love and believe in them. If they seem open to it, I will also give them a hug. This, in itself, often changes the situation.
The most interesting thing that is happening though, is that our relationships are changing, we are going from stuck on unhappy in relationship to getting more and more happy in relationship. This is a process of years, not minutes or days. Along the way, I continue to learn new and interesting things that I will pass on in future posts.
As a closing thought, my recommendation is to focus on making yourself better and better, or happier and happier. You will be happier and those around you will appreciate you more, and the less you say about it, the more likely they are to imitate your actions. As Gandhi said, “Be the Change You Want to See”